By Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, diocesan vicar for development
“I can’t believe it! It was an amazing experience,” Father Ilyas Gill said of his parish’s success in the Generations of Faith campaign.
In less than three months, Father Gill and Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Windsor Terrace, skyrocketed past their initial goal of $380,000 to raise $605,745, with hopefully more to come down the road!
The community is a block three parish, having only begun fundraising on April 20.
Beginning the campaign, and despite being a new pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary, “I had no fear!” Father Gill said with a laugh. “I was optimistic from the start that we would exceed our goal in two to three months. I knew that we were doing good work, and the people would respond.”
Father Gill, like many other pastors who have participated in Generations of Faith, expressed gratitude toward his parishioners and parish staff for their response to date and for their participation on the campaign committee.
“They’re very generous and committed to our parish. Their support each day made me grateful to God and to them as well,” he explained.
“Everyone is so kind and my six committee members and complete parish team work very closely with me.”
In addition to his committee, Father Gill utilized many of the parish ministry and service groups to assist with outreach to parishioners.
“We had the youth program, altar servers, ushers, choir members all distributing pledge cards and information in Mass about the campaign. We worked as a team together and the entire parish has been very engaged, giving their time on weekends and after work during the week. It has been a very great experience that has shown us how strong our parish truly is.”
Once the parish receives the funds they’ve collected, they hope to complete installation of air conditioning in the church, which is top priority.
Secondly, Father Gill and the parish would like to restore and refurbish the church’s pews, flooring and sanctuary.
Later, Immaculate Heart of Mary hopes to build a parish center. To come up with these case elements, Father Gill and his team approached every family through some form of correspondence. “Communication, meetings and follow-ups are very important,” Father Gill stressed.
He concluded, “I think the campaign is a good experience if you have a friendly, open relationship with your people. They were all ready to help. My experience is that you have to build your relationship with your people and they will respond. Without their generosity, we wouldn’t have made it this far. We need to do something for our next generation, as the past generation has done for us.”